Gigapans is not every man’s cup of tea. Just like panoramas. We offer our recent take on a GigaPan EPIC Pro.
The Gigapan allows you to take many shots then form them into a big, gigapixel image that you can zoom and zoom and zoom into. The basic idea is you take a lot of already zoom-ed images then stitch simply them together. It’s up to your imagination how you want to use this technology.
The EPIC Pro is quite simple to use. To capture a gigapan, you generally:
1. Setup your camera/ lens with the EPIC Pro
2. Tell it you wanna take a gigapan (we did not attempt to take a full 360) then tell it where the top left corner is and where the bottom right is
3. Start taking, hope you have a book with you.
The EPIC Pro has all the bell and whistles if you need them inclusing automating HDR shots taking, time delay for taking of night shots/ long exposures but the idea is generally the same.
Once you’ve taken the shots, there’s still some work to be done.
Gigapan EFX (Ver 2.1.0161)
Using the GigaPan Stitch, first select the number of rows. We forgot how many rows we used but it was easy enough to figure it out. Simply dump all the images in, we have 714 then keep clicking the up arrow till images of the same coloumn appears together. We had 14.
From the above, to the bottom. Easy peasy.
Then click Save Selection and Stitch. During stitching, it doesnt seem to be taking up much RAM and CPU power as compared to when we were using PTGui.
On our stitching machine, it’s not a really powerful one but it’s a relatively decent setup. We feel it does save a bit of time as the workflow differs from PTGui and other than viewers like Zoomify, there’s not much you can do with the final image. PTGui always loads the images to be stitch first and with 700+ images, it takes a while to be loaded, then it starts stitching also taking up time. We estimated around 1.5 hours on the below PC specifications.
Once done, it took us about 2.5 hours, you can upload it to GigaPan from within the software and that is the only way you can upload it. Enter your username and password from within the software. The website although mentioned in Wikipedia that it is a open website, it is open to owners of Gigapan Hardware.
GigaPan.com is an open website where users can upload, share and comment on gigapixel images. There are over 50,000 registered members, with nearly 100,000 gigapan images uploaded to the site.
It’s not for everyone, you need to own the Gigapan Hardware, find something interesting to shoot and we were up in the Chinese Garden’s pagoda for almost 2 hours waiting for this to finish. This 700+ Gigapan took around 50 mins to shoot.
Being our first time, we took 3 sets to be safe before returning the review unit. Sit around for it to stitch after reaching your PC at home, upload it then enjoy the fruits of your labour. The gear is not light, the EPIC alone is 3.3kg. We had with us the Epic Pro, a 5DMK3, 70-200mm lens and was packed into 2 bags. The pagoda is 7 storeys tall and has no lifts, not much problem since it’s not that tall but if it was to use this on some beautiful mountain, we may consider otherwise like their Epic 100.
It will work and may produce more interesting gigapans with a super zoom like the Canon EF 400mm or 500mm primes but the weight of the whole setup can be quite a put off. The whole gigapan setup may be interesting for things like President Inauguration or construction sites but may be sitting at home and doing not much. It’s quite a specialised product but it sure does produce some interesting gigapans.
Gigapan has created a whole workflow for you. Producing the Epics, software to assist you in stitching them, the website to host them for you. They have to actually. Hosting the gigapans yourself could be daunting taking up quite some space. The finished stitch we have via PTGui was about 3.5Gb. With Gigapan providing almost everything you need to take, produce and display your gigapan, you just need to worry about where to bring your setup to shoot some interesting gigapans.
Being able to view your Gigapan is an obvious plus! Visitors are viewing more and more on mobile devices. It detected we were using an iPhone when we view the link and simply tell us iOS version can be viewed at a new link. Tap and you are viewing on your iOS.
– Even faster stitching. Of course, that will work hand in hand in your PC’s specs. More ram, more CPU power = faster stitching.
– The EPIC Pro to be lighter. Prefer to be under 1kg with the same capability
– Cost to be lowered, looks like we asking for the impossible! Cheaper material in manufacturer will never be equivalent to lower price but hey, it’s a wishlist…
– Ability to have an in-application masking function (like in PTGui)
Below is the Chinese Gardens, Singapore Gigapan we did from the top of the 7th storey Pagoda. There are 2 shorter pagoda near the waters at the other end of the gardens.
View on new page here. It’s a family place, so please don’t make out in the gardens and get giga-panned.. See if you can find them.